One day we decided to visit the beach and Banburgh Castle. Of course, it was raining, but isn't that the only way to do the British Seaside! There was an ice cream van in the car park (behind mum) and we vowed to get an ice cream on our return to the car, but of course, the van had gone by then. So we back tracked all the way to another town, just to find a 99! And find one we did!
Another day I took a walk along the river with some random old folks (or perhaps they are my parents!).
I skinned 28 lbs of tomatoes this morning with India Arie, then made 8 quarts of marinara sauce. We had some for dinner, delicious! Very simple but huge quantities of everything (28 lbs tomatoes, 3 large onions, 3 large bell peppers, 3 garlic bulbs - apparently I like things in threes! - oregano, parsley, lemon juice, red wine, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, honey and salt and pepper) and hey presto, sauce 'til next summer! It probably works out a little more expensive than store bought canned marinara but it is preservative free and most ingredients were locally grown. I have recently been discovering how easy life can be with the right equipment, and today gives another example, or two. Danny bought me a woosher. You know, a little hand help food processor you lower down into the sauce pan (although make sure its submerged because hot marinara scalds, believe me, I know!). It made life a lot easier today, and I didn't get any burns on my hands as my mummy bought me the best oven gloves ever from John Lewis. I must be the only girl in Oxford, MS with British made, John Lewis oven gloves!
I then attempted to make french baguettes, which was going rather well, at least until just before I was supposed to put the bread in the oven (after 24 hours of babying these things). I don't have a linen couche, obviously, so I nestled my baguettes on some wax proof paper (parchment paper) on a tea towel, and fabricated a couche as suggested in the recipe. Well, then to bake the baguettes I obviously had to remove the tea towel and as I pulled it out, oh so gently, the beautifully lofty baguettes just kinda went, pllllhhhhh and sunk into shriveled little things that looked like gathered up skin on a really old person. They rose again a little in the oven but then stuck to the wax paper (I mean, what is that stuff good for!) so if you ignored the fact that the bread had wrinkles in both its own skin and its papery outer layer, it was tasty bread. Back to practicing on the french baguettes for me, the nice thing is even the disasters are still tasty!
Also today, as if that wasnt enough for one day, I beat Danny at Cribbage this morning over coffee and a brioche at the Bottle tree (although I have to say, he made a good come back and I barely won) and then this afternoon we painted our bedroom. When we get all the stuff back in there Ill take some pictures but Im not convinced any one other than me will like the colours; well, hopefully Danny doesn't mind them, but its probably a good thing dogs are colour blind! The colours are all based on the bed sheets I recently purchased from Anthropologie. I am not the kind of person to make rash decisions when it comes to parting with vast quantities of my hard earned cash so I coveted these bed sheets for months. I looked at them in two different stores, making the girl in the shop re-make the demonstration bed with the linens I was considering, before finally purchasing them. I loved this bedding! Then as part of the re-decorating of the bedroom I decided to wash everything; curtains, bedding, baseboards, windows, you name it, we cleaned it this weekend. Well, last night I decided to do something Ive never done before either, I ironed my new bedding so that it would look beautiful on my bed in my freshly painted, spotlessly clean bedroom (if only for a short while). I chose this bedding because the colours were so bold and vibrant and guess what... they faded with the first wash! I followed the washing label and everything. So Anthropologie will be getting a phone call from a very disappointed little British girl tomorrow. Bad news is, they don't even sell this bedding anymore so they will not be able to send me a replacement. I have based the colour scheme in my bedroom on bedding that is no longer bright and cheery! Grrrrr! That being said, you can imagine the colours of the walls! The back wall is Mulberry pink and the three other walls are powdery blue! I LOVE IT! We shall see just how awful the faded bed sheets look up against the bright pink wall when we get all the furniture back in there tomorrow, but Anthropologie better be either sending me a refund or a fresh set of bed sheets!
So much to do and only 6 days 'til we leave for New Zealand!